Science, Detectives, and Eldritch Abominations, Oh My
If there’s one thing we’ve learned as fans of the mind-melting and often nihilistic genre of Lovecraftian or cosmic horror, it is this: it’s very difficult to actually show the process of the human brain self-destructing in the medium of a video game. Part of this is because people are different, and thus the things which scare us are different, too–H.P. Lovecraft’s viscerally disgusting imagery became so iconic partly because he was afraid of just about everything, so there was almost always something in the mess that would get under your skin–and part of this is because video games are by nature an active, engaging platform. It’s easy to assume that this need for a world you can interact with comes hand-in-hand with a power fantasy. If the new Madness Awaits trailer is anything to go by, Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is not making that mistake.
The press release summarizes the game in these words: “The year is 1926, and a professor of astronomy is found dead in her mansion, the apparent victim of a heinous murder. Players must pick from 12 of the most iconic protagonists from the Arkham Horror universe, each with a unique skill set, and assemble a team of investigators to uncover the secrets behind this mysterious death.”
Simple. Effective. Not at all terrifying. Then you take another look at that trailer and realize that not only is it being narrated by the professor whose murder kicks off the plot, but the bright colors and retro art design contribute really well to the twitching grotesquerie of the genre. The game looks to have plenty of eerie abandoned places to explore, isolated locations for cultists to take over, and many, many ways to lose your mind. In our opinion, the single most chilling moment is when the room around a character begins to jerk randomly in different directions, taking her body with it, while her head remains facing the camera, perfectly still. Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace may not be as dark and serious as some attempts at bringing cosmic horror to life, but it can still make your skin crawl.
Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace will launch on March 23rd, 2021 for Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch at a price of $17.99 / 17,99 €. It is currently available for preorder.